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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Awake

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Judy Thorburn

"Awake" - Is Not An Eye Opening Thriller

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"AWAKE" - IS NOT AN EYE OPENING THRILLER

Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

“Awake” has been hyped as a movie that deals with a frightening thing that supposedly happens to one in approximately 700 people who undergo general anesthesia during an operation. It’s called “anesthetic awareness” which means you are unable to move and speak but are fully conscious of everything going on. Imagine feeling the excruciating pain of being cut open and not being able to do anything about it? What a living nightmare.

Now, don’t be misled in the same way “Signs” had audiences thinking it would explore the mystifying phenomenon of crop circles. Although “Awake”s main character does experience “anesthetic awareness”, it is used as a hook to grab the attention of movie going audiences to draw them in. That terrifying phenomenon is never actually explored.

Awake tells the story of Clayton Beresford (Hayden Christiansen) the son of a deceased New York billionaire real estate developer, along the lines of Donald Trump. Clay is good looking, rich and seems to have it all, living the life of luxury. He’s got a protective, loving mother, Lilith (Lena Olin) and a hot fiancée Sam (Jessica Alba) who happens to be his mom’s secretary. But, all is not perfect as Clay has a bad heart and desperately is in need of a transplant. Best friend and fishing buddy, Dr. Harper (Terrance Howard) a heart surgeon, recommends that the sooner Clayton marries the better, and should get himself in the mindset for a transplant so that he can move on with his life and enjoy it for whatever time he has left. But Mom doesn’t approve of Clayton’s girlfriend or Dr. Harper as Clay’s choice to do the operation since the surgeon’s resume includes several malpractice suits. Nevertheless, Clay, having a mind of his own, secretly elopes with Sam and on the night of their wedding a donor heart becomes available and he is rushed into surgery.

As a medical thriller, the suspense reaches a peak and is at its most horrifying when the surgery gets underway. What becomes clear from the patient’s voice over is that he was not put under. The anesthesia failed to do its job. Clay could feel his chest being ripped open and aware of everything that is said and going on around him but is paralyzed and unable to communicate. The scene is pretty graphic and not easy to watch. So, what next? After becoming frantic and unable for his cries to be heard, mind of over matter takes over and the next thing you know Clay is having an out of body experience and is seen running around the hospital in his hospital gown and trying to communicate with his wife, mom and anyone else who cannot, of course, hear his plea for help.

Refusing to divulge more of the story, I will only disclose that a murder conspiracy is revealed with a few red herrings and plot twists thrown in. Writer and first time director Joby Harold delivers a script that, unfortunately, is filled with a considerable amount of scenes that are truly preposterous if not ridiculous. It doesn’t take someone with a medical school degree to figure out that the writer simply didn’t care about the credibility. He should have at least done his homework or watched a few episodes of Grey’s Anatomy to see what a believable operating room scene should entail. For one, and this is just an example, what occurs to compromise the sterility of the procedure is almost laughable, if it wasn’t plain stupid.

Sure, Hayden Christensen and Jessica Alba make a handsome looking couple. But, her less than convincing acting doesn’t equate to a breakout performance that the pretty young star needs to be taken seriously as an actress. The gratuitous nude scene certainly doesn’t help.

Christensen, Howard and scene stealer Olin are as effective as can be with what they are given. I am just disappointed that the writer came up with a fascinating premise, but didn’t expound on it. I dislike being is being falsely sucked into a film with what is known as the typical bait and switch routine. There isn’t even enough suspense for me to rate the flick more than mediocre. I wouldn’t say Awake is so boring as to put you to sleep, but I did walk out with a noticeable yawn.